Christian retreat centre has new Chair of Trustees
Paul Dunning has recently been appointed as Chair of Trustees of the Quiet Waters Christian Retreat Centre. He explains how he got involved and how others can do the same.
You may not have heard about Quiet Waters, but we are a small Christian Retreat House on the Norfolk / Suffolk border just outside Bungay (www.quietwaters.org.uk). Having become a trustee earlier in 2021 I was asked to take over as Chair after a few months. A bit daunting, but a task I felt called to do, having been smitten by what Quiet Waters is all about.
As a Bungay resident for 35 years, I’d known about Quiet Waters and had some infrequent contact over those years. However, there were two things that happened which really drew me into the wonder of the centre. Firstly, I finally got round to setting aside a day for prayer and reflection. I’d been meaning to do this for some years as I recognise it is an important spiritual discipline for all of life – work, family and church. What better place to go than Quiet Waters, as it’s only half a mile from my home? So, I contacted the team and spent a fruitful and blessed day there in August 2019 (When I say ‘day’ don’t think of a 12-hour slog. It was around six hours and interspersed with worship and a lovely lunch.)
The second factor was lockdown. Like many people, my wife and I took the opportunity for walks, and we frequently crossed paths with Debbie and Andy, team members at Quiet Waters. Of course, we stopped and chatted. To cut a slightly longer story short, this led to me offering to take my chainsaw to Quiet Waters to help cut up some wood and store it ready for use in the house. As someone whose day job is sedentary and more cerebral, I found it was great to do something practical and stand back at the end of the day and proudly look at the logs neatly piled up by Andy. Again, we chatted, and I got to understand what the centre offers to its guests. They are welcomed like family into a home and it’s a place where we see that God is close. To quote one of our team members: “People feel God’s healing and come alive.” It was from here that the request for me to become a trustee flowed. I feel privileged and humbled to have such a role.
My day job, as Director of Education for the Diocese of Norwich, has enabled me to develop some understanding of how charities and not-for-profit organisations work. At Quiet Waters we have a small group of dedicated trustees, but we do need to expand this and seek those who have a heart for God’s mission at Quiet Waters and skills in particular fields – finance, property maintenance, health and safety, human resources, and the legal aspects of running a charity. If you feel this might be something you could contribute to, please get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t think trusteeship is for you then we are always seeking volunteers to help, including in the large garden.
We are looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2022. We’ve weathered the pandemic pretty well and have a new couple joining the team in February. However, there is much still to do to ensure that Quiet Waters has a sustainable long-term future but we trust in God’s plan and seek his will in all we do.
Pictured above is Paul Dunning